The School Choice Movement Marches Forward in 2011
In just the first six months of 2011, 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation supporting school voucher or scholarship tax credit programs. This has been a big year for school advocates. While some states expanded already existing school choice programs, six new programs were created in Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Wisconsin—beating the previous record of five new programs set in 2006. Opponents argue this is necessary money that is being taken away from the public school system, while supporters say it gives low-income students and those with special needs access to a quality education.
- Arizona: After the state supreme court ruled vouchers unconstitutional in 2009, Arizona instead passed education savings accounts to provide funding to students with special needs to find alternative schools.
- Florida: The Sunshine State increased both the amount of money and type of allowable corporate scholarship tax credit scholarships and expanded the McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities.
- Georgia: Georgia's Tax Credit Scholarship program was expanded to raise the $50 million cap so more scholarship money is available for students.
- Indiana: The state legislator passed the nation's largest school voucher program—School Choice Indiana—aimed at helping low-income and middle-income families.
- Iowa: The state's scholarship tax credit program was expanded by more than $1 million.
- North Carolina: A tax credit program for special needs students was enacted and the cap on the number of charter schools, previously limited to 100, has been lifted.
- Ohio: Ohio expanded its voucher program by quadrupling the number of children eligible for EdChoice state vouchers, increased the amount of money provided by the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program, and a new program for special needs students.
- Oklahoma: The state's first scholarship tax credit program was passed.
- Utah: Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program received increased funding.
- Washington D.C.: As President Barack Obama was set to phase out the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, Congress revived the program, which provides low-income students with scholarships to attend private schools.
- Wisconsin: The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was expanded this year and is the nation's longest-running school choice program.
Source: American Federation for Children